Mar 20, 2015

Has the Latest Vitamin Supplement Scam Shaken Consumer Confidence?

The vitamin supplement industry is under fire in New York because of alleged contamination, mislabeling, and false advertising. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leading the charge against four major retailers for selling fraudulent and possibly dangerous supplements. Schneiderman states that several “medicinal herbs” were tested from Walgreens, GNC, Walmart, and Target – and they failed. This latest revelation has left consumers to wonder if they can trust the vitamin supplements they’ve come to love.

Among the supplements tested were: Ginko biloba, ginseng, St. John’s wort, and Valerian root. Tests revealed store Ginko biloba to be little more than rice and garlic, St. John’s wort to be comprised of mostly houseplant filler, and Valerian root was merely ground beans and peas. Some medical professionals are not surprised by this latest vitamin scam. They claim that since the vitamin supplement industry is mostly unregulated by the FDA, it is easier for vitamin manufacturers to shortchange consumers at the checkout lane.

Walgreens said it will remove the herbal supplements from its shelves nationwide in the coming weeks, while Walmart will ask its suppliers to take immediate action. Spokesmen for GNC stated that the company will cooperate to the fullest extent, but stand by all of their products. Target is the only retailer that is yet to respond.

Right now many supplements not regulated by the FDA work on an honor system, essentially promising that their supplements are what they claim to be. But this latest discovery has many consumers questioning if the FDA should hold vitamin manufacturers to the same regulatory standards as other industries. The FDA has not indicated that it intends to tighten regulations regarding any of the tested vitamins.

Consumers spent $23 billion on vitamin supplements in 2014, and are predicted to spend 7% more in the year to come. But will this latest vitamin scandal damage potential profits for vitamin supplement merchants? Consumer faith in large retailers may be shaken, but studies show that most consumers prefer to buy their supplements from independently owned sources. Now is the time for new and independent vitamin supplement merchants to establish vitamin supplement merchant accounts.

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Having a merchant account allows an account holder to take advantage of merchant cash advances. When a merchant is approved for an advance, the business agrees to receive a lump sum of cash in exchange for an agreed-upon percentage of future credit card sales.

Pricing varies depending the merchant’s industry, past credit card processing history, the type of business seeking the account, average ticket sales, and average transaction volumes.

Yes, EMB works with merchants who are building their credit, as well as those who have poor credit. EMB also approves merchants that have no credit card processing history and businesses that have lost their merchant accounts due to high chargebacks.

Several factors influence a merchant’s risk level. Though only one factor likely will not get a merchant classified as high risk, a combination of these may: business size, location, and industry, credit score, credit card processing history, a industry’s reputation for excessive chargebacks, a prior history of high chargeback ratios, and whether a merchant exclusively sells online.

Virtual terminals are stationed on a merchant’s website, making it easy for customers to make a payment or purchase online. Merchants or a payment processor can easily set up virtual terminals, so online businesses can accept credit and debit card and e-check transactions.

A merchant account is a business account with an acquiring bank. Without this business account, which actually works more like a line of credit, a merchant cannot accept and process credit and debit card transactions. Businesses need a merchant account to accept major credit cards via a static point-of-sale terminal, mobile card reader, or through a virtual payment gateway.

After filling out EMB’s simple online application and submitting any necessary, requested documents, many merchants get approved within 24 and 48 hours.

EMB specializes in working with high-risk merchants. EMB works with many merchants, including but not limited to businesses in these industries: gambling and gaming, adult entertainment, nutraceuticals, vaping and e-cigarettes, electronics, tech support, travel, high-end furniture, weight loss programs, calling cards, e-books and software, and telecommunications.

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